Fornebei Vikings

National Hnefatafl Tournament
Sutton Hoo
9/10 August 2014
Tim Bullen and myself went to represent Formby.
We made it to the semi finals and had to play each other…
Tim won! and went on to challenge Pete Jennings…

And he WON!

2014-08-10 10.49.29

Formby (or Fornebei as it should still be called)
Is a Viking Village and is cited in the Domesday Book.
For the Millennium we had a week of activities
and a Viking camp was set up in the ‘woods’.
We decided with the help of Leo and Mark who know how these things work
to organise a new Viking Day.

scroll past the new logo and see last years stuff…

And IF you are willing to offer any contributions to funding the event
or time to help PR or staff it..then get in touch asap!

Formby Viking Logo 2014 - Final Version

Saturday 5th October 2013 we had a ‘festival day’
10-4 at Our Lady’s Gild Hall and Activity Centre
Which is on Church Road, the main road through Formb
y Village

Viking Broach Logo - Version 1

There was some superb authentic medieval market stalls, a live band ‘Leafblade’
who played 3 shows in the afternoon and  we had activities for all ages.

We have confirmation of these main stalls and activities
Live Combat re-enactment throughout the day by the Crusader Knights
Shoot the Knight Archery
Hands on Birds of Prey
Runes and Tarot and a Real Gypsy Caravan
Wand Making and Medieval Arts/Crafts inc Dreamcatchers and tapestry
Two authentic Viking Longships and entourage
A living history Viking village and cookery display and a storyteller
A talk by Kate Ellis on her Viking history for her bestselling ‘Funeral Boat’
A talk by Victoria Campbell for younger Vikings about her superb novel ‘Viking Gold’

Design a Shield Competition
Hnefertafl Tournament
Viking Verse
Meet Winner of Sefton Super Reads Ruth Eastham
and listen to her talk about her stunning ‘Arrowhead’ a modern day Viking Saga


This is an idea of the things that will happen…

September 2012 Market 006 BW Framed BlAugust 2011 565 Edit 1


And also we do have an Hnefatafl CHnefetafle1lub

We meet every Wednesday  at 7pm

Leo and I have been developing a ‘local’ version
and will be selling sets for £10 for a limited period soon..

Leo has ‘adpated’ the ‘Rules’ for our ‘Herfolk’ (Crew)                      

  Fornebei Herfólk Hnefatafl

Copyright Herfolk Heritage Games 2013

Rule Book

photo (8) 

 Fornebei Herfólk Hnefatafl

It’s the year 878 AD and an overwhelming force of Viking warriors led by Guthrum attacked the unsuspecting Anglo Saxon Court of King Alfred at Chippenham. Facing defeat King Alfred’s only hope is to escape and rebuild his army so that he can fight another day. The Vikings now sensing the tide is turning in their favour know that the only way they can be sure of a complete victory is to defeat and capture the King.
Let the battle commence:- 

But before you start 

It might be advisable that both sides agree which set of rules and variations you are going to use.  Such an agreement would prevent any possible Viking feud or blood letting over an illegal move.  However, you may still wish, in true Viking fashion, not to reveal some of the intricate game variations before hand, so that you can use them to gain an advantage at the appropriate moment to ensure victory.

In true Viking fashion you may agree to start the game with a toss of a coin or a roll of a dice throw to decide which side you choose, what starting position to take and who moves first.

Standard Rules 


Starting position

The Vikings are set out equally on the edge of the board as shown with the Anglo Saxons placed with the King, at his Court in the centre.

  • All the Viking and Anglo Saxons pieces, including the King, are allowed to move orthogonally (in a straight line along a row or a column – very much like a castle in chess)
  • No piece is allowed to move diagonal or jump over any other.
  • Each move can go along the full length of the board if there is no one in the way.
  • Each move has to end on an unoccupied square. However only the king can occupy the central square (King Alfred’s Throne at his Court) or the corner refuge points (Somerset Marshes). All pieces can move across the Throne)
  • Should the King reach and land on any of the 4 refuge squares he has won
  • The Viking attackers win if the King is captured
  • The first move is usually carried out by the Vikings however you may wish to decide on who starts on a toss of a coin.CaptureEach Viking attacker or Anglo Saxon defender can be captured by trapping them between two enemy pieces
  • .b1  Simple Capture Rule: Here the Viking warrior is taken by being trapped between two Anglo Saxons. This can be done either horizontally or vertically
  • b2. Safe move between two opponents: However, a warrior piece can move freely between two opposite enemy pieces or land between them without being caught. 
  • b3 King Alfred can capture:  The king is allowed to take part in capturing Vikings
  • b4  Capturing at a corner square: The corners are treated as hostile to both sides. Therefore only one piece is required to capture the enemy if they are next to the corner square.
  • b5 Capture at the Kings Throne:  If the King leaves the throne, the empty throne becomes a hostile square similar to the corner rule.
  • b2  Double capture:  In case of an appropriate position in the game it is also possible to defeat two opponents by one move.
  • Double capture using the corner The corner is hostile to all pieces other than the
    King. Therefore it is possible to capture two pieces using this move
  • b7    A Triple capture.  All 3 pieces are taken from the board when captured in this way.
  • Winning the gameThe game is won by the Vikings if King Alfred is captured first or by the Anglo Saxons if the King can reach and land on any one of the 4 corner refuge squares.
  •  b8 Winning by capturing King Alfred: The
    Vikings win if they can surround the King on 4 opposing sides.
  • b9Taking the King when he is next to his Throne:  If the King is on any one of the 4 spaces next to the Throne – horizontally or vertically, the central square is treated as hostile. The King can be taken by being surrounded on the remaining 3 sides.
  • b10The King wins if he escapes to the corner: King Alfred wins if he can land on one of the corner refuge squares. (The Somerset Marshes)

Then after much play and discussion about making the game even more ‘local’ to Fornebei we were given a moment of unique inspiration by Vicky, she said..why don’t you change to playing with Squirrels! And Leo, Tim and I spent 6 months adapting rules, game play and board rules and we have finally come up with…’Nuts’ – The Red Squirrel Game

We think it is superb and have a weekly club with many folks trying and buying our locally made sets which we soon hope to market wider and through other retailers…

Here is a draft of rules..almost done…just a few tweaks!


                                            “Nuts” the Red Squirrel Game


The Red Squirrel Game of “Nuts” is based on Hnefatafl, a game that dates back some 1600 years and was widely played during the Viking Age. Hnefatafl has in recent times, seen something of a revival, with much debate and interest over the rules the Vikings might have used as a number of game variants have been discovered across Northern Europe.   A group of Hnefatafl enthusiasts, with an interest in Formby’s Viking past set out to devise a set of rules that kept to the spirit of the original game making the Fornebei Rules a fascinating  playable version that gets close to understanding  Viking  thinking, war craft and strategy.

The format of “Nuts” and game play was designed by the same group of enthusiasts, who wanted to create a version that would be a good introduction to Hnefatafl and appeal to a younger audience and it was the neighbourhoods Formby’s Red Squirrel population and nature reserve that provided the inspirational theme.  As a result what you now have is a game that is educational, enjoyable to play and suitable for all ages.

The Aim of the Game

The Red Squirrels have to get their Acorns to safety so that they can hide them in the woodlands, and have a good supply of food to survive the winter months.  However, the hungry Greys have a different idea and want the nuts for themselves. 

The Game Rules and Layout.

The playing area comprise of 11 x 11 squares featuring a central conservation zone of 9 spaces with a woodland habitat running along the edge of the board. There are 33 playing pieces divided into 2 unequal groups consisting of 8 Red Squirrels and an Acorn representing a stash of nuts, against an opposing force of 24 very, very hungry Grey Squirrels.

Starting Position: (see diagram)

The Acorn is placed on the central square with 8 Red Squirrels placed on the surrounding spaces. The 24 Grey Squirrels are set out equally on the edge of the board and are ready to stop the Reds escaping to the woods.

The Red Squirrels makes the first move.  Each player then takes it in turns.


  • All Squirrels are allowed to run in a straight line along a row or a column – similar to a castle in chess.
  • No Squirrel is allowed to move diagonal or jump over any other.
  • Each run can go along the full length of the board if there is no one in the way.
  • Each run has to end on an unoccupied square.
  • However, Grey’s are not allowed to enter or cross the central 9 squares which is a protected area for the Red Squirrels.
  • Red Squirrels can occupy or move freely across the central 9 squares.
  • As soon as a playing piece is touched, during a player’s turn, that piece has to be the one that is moved.


  • The Acorn and Squirrels, on either side, can be captured by being trapped between two opponent pieces.  This can be done either horizontally or vertically but not diagonally. However, a Squirrel can move freely between two opponents or land between them without being caught.
  • The Acorn can participate in capturing an opponent.
  • Double and  a triple captures are also permitted should a Squirrel land between two opponents that already have opponents  stationed next to them – on the opposite sides, horizontally or vertically. (i.e. sandwiched between them)
  • It is also possible to capture 3 Squirrels should you land between two opponents with the third one holding out on the square in front.  You will have trapped them all should your fellow Squirrels be positioned next to each one. 

Winning the Game:

  • The game is won by the Grey Squirrels if they can capture the Red Squirrels’ Acorn – their stash of “Nuts”
  • The Reds win if they can get their Acorn to the edge of the board where they can escape and hide their “Nuts”.

A Draw:

  • Both sides agree that it’s a draw and the game is played again. (Best out of three wins)
  • If any side repeats the same run 3 times in a row.
  • Should  all the Red Squirrels and the Acorn be completely surrounded  but still can move freely

After playing the game a few times you may come up with your own additional rules to give the game of “Nuts” an additional edge or to handicap a more experienced player as a challenge.  Here are some optional rules you may also consider:-

Optional Rules:

  • Introduction of a rapid move rule, such as allowing no more than 10 seconds per turn not only provides added fun to the game the rule is more in keeping with how Squirrels move in their natural habitat as the dart around at speed. The experienced players are also more likely to make mistakes when the game uses the rapid fire rule!
  • For less experienced players it is suggested that the weaker player starts first.
  • The Red Squirrels must declare “Nuts”, as a warning should the Acorn be able to reach the edge of the board on their next turn. (This is similar to declaring check in Chess)
  • Copyright Herfolk Heritage Games 2014

I will save and insert the images next… all takes time!!!


One Response to Fornebei Vikings

  1. prower by says:

    Great posts, especially this one !! thank you! :-)

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